Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Reading & Seeing 9

Bright Lights, Big City (1984)
Jay McInerney's classic. My uncle recommended it to me back when I was hungry for anything to ease/escalate my NYC excitement in the lead-up to the holiday. The fact that I didn't read it until recently (having returned to London) didn't make me like it any less. It's an awesome snapshot of mid 80s New York City. The reader, much like the protagonist, is thrown in at the deep end and is left to fight to stay afloat in the city's fast-paced and relentless cycle. The novel is known for it's, rarely seen, second person narrative - which I really enjoyed. It felt like I was living inside the main character's head - getting wasted, going to clubs, doing stupid (but v.funny) things and, more seriously, coming to terms with loss. This novel, despite being set 30 years ago, still somehow feels relevant - it's easy to let a city consume you, to loose sight of reality. I've heard a few comparisons, and in some ways see similarities, between this and The Catcher in The Rye - young men, new york city, figuring stuff out yadda yadda yadda. However, I have no time for Holden Caulfield but this book? I loved it and would highly recommend.

*I've just seen that's it's been made into a film starring Michael J Fox AND Keifer Sutherland! Haha*

Kiss Me Kate - The Old Vic
A few weeks ago my parents treated my sister and I to a night out at the theatre. To be honest I wasn't too keen on going to see a musical but 10 mins into Kiss Me Kate I was laughing so hard. The story focuses on a stage production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. As the audience, you get to see some of the actual show as it would be performed but also all the trials and tribulations behind the scenes, expect wires getting crossed and arguing lovers! The songs are funny and perfectly performed by the cast. There were some excellent dance numbers too including tap (I do love tap). Sadly this show is no longer on at The Old Vic but it's worth keeping an eye out for it uncase it ever returns to the west end.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)
Having caught up with some of this year's Oscar nommed films (Argo - excellent; The Master - interesting but I didn't really get it) Mitch and I opted for something a little lighter. I'd read some mixed reviews before-hand (mostly not so favourable) but actually I quite liked it. As I'm sure you're all aware this OZ instalment tells the story of how the Wizard came to be 'The Wizard of Oz'. There are nods to the original Judy Garland film throughout particularly the opening 10 mins - black & white no less :D - and the mirroring of Kansas characters in the land of OZ. It's been criticised for the amount of CGI used (OZ is basically a CGI haven) BUT it is done v.well - especially the little china doll. It was pretty long (I think I'm getting old, I'm saying this a lot more often about films these days) and it was weird that the land and the wizard were both called Oz (or perhaps this is how it is in the original, clearly I need to rewatch it). The witches are great (especially Mila Kunis) and it all ties together in a fairly neat bow (apart from a bizarre romance which clearly doesn't last), ready for the original story to pick up from. Good fun but you won't be missing anything if you wait for the dvd. It's very different from the other Land of Oz adventure made in the 80s, which, while we're at it, is also worth a viewing, parts of it are rather terrifying. In a fun way.

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